Admissions to Christchurch hospital from 2000–2004 were analysed to determine those that could theoretically avoided by earlier interventions in primary health or public health settings. 39% of all admissions were found to be potentially avoidable and amenable to preventive approaches. The largest group was cardiovascular disease which comprised 42% of all avoidable hospitalisations. The next most frequent causes were respiratory, gastrointestinal, stroke and urinary disorders. In 2003, the estimated costs of avoidable hospitalisations were $147 million, accounting for 159,000 bed days. This research indicated the need for more emphasis to be placed on earlier interventions in primary health care and more public health programmes aimed at promoting lifestyle change.
Sheerin I, Allen G, Henare M, Craig K. Avoidable hospitalisations: potential for primary and public health initiatives in Canterbury, New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal 119 (1236), 2006.